Nutrition and Diabetes

By Rosa Becerra, RD, LD/N, CDE | 11/21/2013, 9 a.m.

Traditional diabetic diet plans involving counting calories and grams of sugar can be restrictive. They often fail to address your personal preferences and medical condition.

Whether your goal is to normalize your lab work results, stop or reduce the amount of medications you take, lose weight, have more vitality, or maintain your overall health, you should follow a nutrition plan that addresses your individual needs.

One major advantage of a personalized diet is that it helps keep your blood sugar level stabilized.

Having a normal blood sugar level is vital for a diabetic, because it helps prevent future medical problems.

Eating should be an enjoyable experience that speaks to your tastes and cultural traditions –dieting doesn’t have to change that. You can still enjoy delicious meals while adhering to your diet plan.

Many people are surprised to learn that diabetics can eat rice, bread, fruit - even sweets - and still successfully control their disease.

The secret is knowing how to help your body burn what you eat instead of storing it as sugar and fat.

Here are some important steps to help you control your diabetes and live a long, active life.

  1. Exercise at least four times a week.

  2. Do not skip meals.

  3. Eat at regular intervals each day.

  4. Rice, pasta, potatoes and other white carbohydrates should be eaten at lunch.

  5. Incorporate salads, vegetables and good fats – like fish, nuts, avocado and seeds – into your meals.

  6. Allow yourself a treat once a week.

  7. Consult with a dietitian.

Rosa Becerra, a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator, works as a community dietician at Jefferson Reaves, Sr. Health Center.

She helps patients with pre-diabetes and diabetes understand how to manage their condition by making better nutritional choices. She can be contacted at r.becerra@med.miami.edu.